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"The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury"
Reviewed by: Wayne A. Klein
Genre: Science Fiction
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 5.1
Languages English
Subtitles English, Spanish, French
Length 35 minutes
Rating NR
Release Date 6/15/04
Studio Universal Home Video
Commentary: None
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: "From Pitch Black to The Chronicles of Riddick: Bridging the Gap", "Peter Chung-The mind of an Animator", "Into the Light"
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: None
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: "Animatic to Animation"
Cast and Crew: Vin Diesel, Keith David, Rhiana Griffith, Roger j. Jackson, Tress Macneille, Dwight Schultz, Nick Chinlund
Written By: Brett Matthews Based on a Story by David Twohy
Produced By: Jae Y. Moh and John Kafka
Directed By: Peter Chung
Music: Machine Head
The Review:

Director Peter Chung ("Van Helsing: The London Assignment", "The Animatrix", "Aeon Flux") returns to create a "mini" sequel to one of Universal Studios' major Summer release films. "Dark Fury" chronicles the five years between the film "Pitch Black" and the summer blockbuster release "The Chronicles of Riddick". Shortly after escaping the planet they were trapped on in "Pitch Black", Riddick and the other two survivors Imam and Jack are captured by a "Merc" (i.e., a bounty hunters) ship and Riddick is forced by the commander of the ship to fight against soldiers and a wide variety of nasty aliens. If he fails or doesn't comply, his two friends will be killed. ***

An anime delight made for adult science fiction fans, "Dark Fury" probably should have been rated R for language and violence but, somehow, escaped without any rating at all. Perhaps Universal never submitted it to the ratings board because the plan was to release this direct to video from the beginning. Either way, parents may want to be aware of this fact. The sharply directed animation covers up a fairly routine story that isn't as inventive as "Pitch Black" or its sequel "The Chronicles of Riddick". Still, it's an enjoyable adventure and worth watching if you're a fan of either film. With the participation of the main cast from "Riddick" and Peter Chung's name, "Dark Fury" already has a build in audience ready for it. It's curious that it came out after "Chronicles" as it didn't allow the film to build on the anticipation of the film and initial success at the box office. ---

Image and Sound: The great use of colors, textures and shadows by Chung in his work here doesn't go to waste. This single layer DVD looks sharp with excellent clarity, accurate color reproduction and little to no digital blemishes to mar the picture. The 5.1 sound mix gets used very well although most of the action does occur in the primary channels. ---
The Extras:

Three excellent featurettes are provided and, although two are really no more than promos for the movie "Chronicles", they're well put together. The best of the extras are "Peter Chung-The Mind of an Animator" where we get to see the creative process that Chung uses to make some of his unusual films. "Animatic to Animation" actually explores the process from previsualization to the final product and, as such, is a interesting glimpse into a rough draft to the final work.

Commentary: No commentary track although it might have been interesting to hear Diesel or film director Twohy's comments as well as Chung on this short film.
Final Words: A clever, well directed animated sequel to "Pitch Black" that sets the stage for the second film "Chronicles", "Dark Fury" doesn't have much of a script but the action sequences, production design and direction make it worthwhile to watch for fans. There's a pretty decent assortment of extras provided. The picture and sound quality is top notch.


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